Big Rude Jake

Big Rude Jake

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN

Solo, duo, quartet, quintet or with his flagship jazz/blues sextet, Big Rude Jake's songwriting and legendary performances are powerful, evocative, compelling and unforgettable. Ragtime, rock/psychobilly, swing, punk, jazz, jump, blues - he does it all. BRJ loves music and it loves him.


Jake is a composer, singer, ‘blues shouter’ and musician with a diverse array of influences. Noted for the distinct ‘swing punk’ sound of his first few albums, he loves and celebrates music – all of it, with special attention to the roots of American music. You’ll hear jazz, swing, ragtime, rock’n‘roll, jump, gospel, blues, folk… Add a little cabaret and some punk attitude, and you’ve got Big Rude Jake.

Powerhouse Songwriters
Big Rude Jake started by forming a band that combined his interest in traditional jazz, jump blues, rockabilly and punk. The lyrical style was inspired by his love for his favourite powerhouse songwriters like Tom Waits, Jacques Brel and Berthold Brecht. Jake’s fascination for the music and mythologies of cities like New Orleans and New York would certainly show up in the mix. And a mix it would certainly be.

That idea took him around the world and back.

Stuffy Jazz Intellectuals
Drawn to the jazz tradition for its passion and sensuality, Jake lamented the rise of the stuffy “jazz intellectual” and dreamed up a plan to bring jazz back to its street-wise, rough-hewn roots. His stage persona evoked strident passion and longing.

In the first few years, he actually avoided playing in jazz venues altogether. Instead, he performed his jazz and swing influenced compositions in rock venues and blues bars across Canada, where he found kindred spirits who appreciated his dream of a “Bawdy House Jazz” revival.

Originally billed as “alternative music,” Big Rude’s vision caught the attention of media and critics. His independent recordings were sold in the “rock,” “punk” and “alternative” sections in music stores, and he proved that jazz and swing, with the right attitude, could have as much street credibility as any rock, soul or hip-hop act in the country.

After the rise of such U.S. bands as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Jake was swept into the neo-swing movement that was all the rage across North America. He moved to New York, signed with Roadrunner Records (now known for the success of Nickelback and Megadeath) and began touring Europe and the United States.

Shortly after BRJ’s return to Toronto, he was hit by a taxicab as he cycled home from a gig. His injuries forced him to cancel the national tour for the independent album he had only just completed (LFDJ). Jake left the recording industry to heal and regroup, going into semi-retirement.

The years away from that world did him good. He returned to playing solo guitar, enjoying the chance to focus on his ragtime fingerpicking style which he had learned under the tutelage of Mose Scarlett. He got into in better physical shape than he’d been in years. He’s also more relaxed, having pursued his interest in Buddhism with vigor.

Big Rude Jake’s return to the recording business was marked by the release of Quicksand in September 2009 – yet another departure, inspired by Americana, Ragtime, Roots, Gospel and Folk.

Stand by, as 3 other new BRJ albums are in various stages of development. A live album is due out before the end of 2011!


Queer For Cat

Written By: Big Rude Jake

I stayed out late Last Saturday night And finally made it home about 3.
And, Oh! My Lord, When I walked through the door, What do you think I see?

With her hair up fine
and a scoop neck line
and a red dress bustin’ at the seams
With the music slow
and the lights down low
I saw my girl with the girl of my dreams!

My gal is queer for cat!
She’s queer for cat and that’s a fact!
She likes 'em tall and slim and stacked,
And she likes it that I like it that she likes it like that!

She says, "Lets go swingin’!
Let’s paint the town!
You and me and kitty makes three."
Ain’t no doubt about it, we sure get around!

My gal is queer for cat!
She’s queer for cat and that’s a fact!
She like’s tall and slim and stacked,
And she likes it that I like it that she likes it like that!

In days of old,
Or so I’m told,
The Greeks and them crazy old Romans
Were want to employ
Some fat little boy
In the place of a sweet fine woman.

Now in the modern age,
We’ve changed the stage,
But folks are still slaves to fashion.
People still do
what they’re told to do,
But now the trend is much more to my liking!

I tell ya, now
My gal is queer for cat!
She’s down on the mound and sweet on the slack!
She can please the pink in five minutes flat
And she likes it that I like it that she likes it like that!

She say, "Let's go swingin’!
Lets jump the jive
I know a spot where the music’s hot
And you’ll be the happiest man alive!"

My gal is queer for cat!
She’s queer for cat and that’s a fact!
She likes 'em tall and slim and stacked,
And she likes it that I like it that she likes it like that!

And let em tell ya: she likes it like that!

Schiela's Going Downtown

Written By: Big Rude Jake

I got Sinatra on the jukebox,
I got soda in my gin.
And I wore out a brand new pair of shoes
Looking for that baby of mine again.
I peeked into every crevice
Under every rock and every board
Looked across every bar stool
And every empty dance house floor.
But the people, they all shake their heads
Say ‘Your baby’s not around,’
They say the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,
Schiela’s going downtown

Schiela’s going downtown
Swears that this will be the last time
Took another sacred vow
While riding in on the main-line
She say please don’t tell my baby,
And please don’t tell my man
Just give me the space to fabricate
An excuse they could understand.
And nobody wants to live forever,
So Schiela puts her money down
Buys a ticket to ride a rocket
Schiela’s going downtown.

Gonna take you out on Sunday,
Put a ribbon in your hair,
Put you in a great big car,
We’re gonna drive you away from here.
Gonna take you out to the Beaches,
Where the folks all take for granted,
Every little thing they got,
And every thing they ever wanted.
So hush now little darlin’,
Lay your head down.
Let your momma slip away,
Schiela’s going downtown.

Schiela’s going downtown
Schiela’s going downtown

Music in the Street

Written By: Big Rude Jake

1. I hear the music when I’m walkin’ in the street
I hear the sound of a sweet melody
And a single voice can start a revolution
I still believe in the song
And I do believe the time has come

Raise your Hands up High!

I hear the sound of people aching to be free.
I see the power in the numbers on the street.
And justice is a song that starts a revolution.
And I still believe in that song.
And I do believe it won’t take long.

I hear a voice that’s doubtful, I hear another one that is afraid
Measuring the gains against the things they take away
But you can’t tell me that all of that money
Is better than a better world
Oh, No! I still believe in the song.
And I still believe the time has come.

Neck Deep in the Blues

Written By: Big Rude Jake

(intro) And the Blues fall down on the street where I live
Like the soot and the sleet and the snow
And it gathers in shadows
And the dips and dark narrows
And out in the rag-tattered road

(verse 1)
Brother can you spot me a dollar,
Hey friend can you lend me a five?
My cheque’s not due
For another week or two,
I’ll pay you back for sure this time

Well, you sure can’t get drunk on a dollar,
And you sure can’t get tight on a five,
But you can ride a rocket
And take it down town,
and watch all those pretty lights shine

Neck Deep in the Blues
Neck Deep in the Blues

(verse 2)
Man, can you show me to the station
Sir, can you point out the train?
I’ve been walking in circles
For hours and hours
And I seem to have lost my way.

Well, nobody’s waitin’ at the Station
There’s no one to meet on the train
But if I find the right track,
I just might get myself back
To the place from which I came.

Neck Deep in the Blues
Neck Deep in the Blues


Released 2009

Big Rude Jake’s newest release explores contemporary twists on popular music forms from decades ago. The overall sound is relaxed and contemplative. The musical arrangements often involve reduced instrumentation, with some tracks featuring Jake on guitar and vocals alone.

Butane Fumes and Bad Cologne
Release Date: 1993

Mixes various traditional styles, with a heavy emphasis on traditional jazz, swing, and blues. Powerful lyrics in the tradition of Berthold Brecht and Noel Coward.

Blue Pariah
Release Date: 1996

Alternative swing, or Swing Punk.

Big Rude Jake (The self-titled CD)
Released internationally on Roadrunner Records in 1999
Now only available from the Artist or on I Tunes.
Sometimes referred to as “Defiance” by fans.

Live Faust, Die Jung
Released 2001

This is a departure album for the artist. It combines folk blues and jazz with 60\'s soul and 70\'s pop. The music is not swing, or traditional jazz in its core.

Big Rude Bootleg - Live at Lee's Palace

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